The SLENZ Update – No 95, June 8, 2009

Teleporting between  Virtual Worlds

‘Seamless, intuitive and immediate’

travel  between OpenSims

The future  is here:  a seamless virtual world environment where one can teleport  transparently between any OpenSim virtual world  – no not SL yet but wait for it –  no matter what the OpenSim virtual world is and where in the real world it is mounted.

If it lets you in and door is open you will be able to teleport there.

Zonja Capalini referred to  teleporting between OpenSims via hypergrid  in her comment and video on THE ‘OPENSIM’ EXPERIENCE – Worlds of difference but ones that Kiwi developers should probably try out but now  OpenSim boundary crossing was given the imprimateur  of  the mainstream virtual blogging community  by  virtual world guru Wagner James Au (pictured right) (SL: Hamlet Au) in NewWorldNotes  last week.WagnerJAu

Au described it as a “milestone breakthrough”  following the Second Metaverse U  conference(Stanford University) demonstration of Science Sim, the Intel-backed, OpenSimulator project linking a number of 3D science experiments into an interconnected network.

The ” exciting” and “jaw dropping” event was presented by  Tom Murphy, professor of computer science at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Ca

“In the demo,”  Au said, “Murphy ran an OpenSim viewer on a big video screen, teleporting from a science project running on sims located in Oregon, to another in Utah, to another at NorthWestern University in Illinois, and back again. From the viewer’s perspective, the teleport procedure looked exactly like it does in Second Life, except instead of TP-ing from one part of the grid to another, Murphy was going from one private cluster of OpenSim servers to another.

“The process was seamless, intuitive, and immediate,” Au said.

“This strikes me as a profound innovation,” he said. “From an avatar’s prospective, it’s now possible to travel from private OpenSim sim to private OpenSim sim in a way that’s indistinguishable from Second Life.

“Of course, teleportation of virtual money and assets is another question, but for metaverse experiences which don’t require those, OpenSim is now a viable alternative.”

Au noted that the teleportation code had been created by Cristina Videira Lopes (pictured right) (SL: Diva Canto), Associate Professor in the School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to joining Academia, she worked at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.  She is co-inventor of AOP (Aspect Oriented Programming), a programming technology featured in the MIT Technology Review (2001) as “one of the 10 emergent technologies that will change the world.”Cristina Videira Lopes

She’s also the visionary behind OpenSim’s hypergrid, which Au and Capalini have  previously written about.

Maria Korolov commenting on Au’s report said  that on OpenSim residents had been  happily using hypergrid teleports for some weeks now. For example she recently took her avatar shopping at OSGrid (picked up a free hot tub) and took  it back to her standalone grid, and installed it there.

Assets transfer fine, including clothing and hair and inventory,” she said. “I still have the same rights to them as I did on my home grid — I can’t give something that’s marked “no transfer” or copy something that’s marked “no copy.

“If I make a backup (by saving an OAR) file I will have a copy of all the assets that are on that region. for the purposes of restoring them later if something happens. If I distribute that OAR to other grid owners for them to load up on their grids, I will be violating the IP rights of the producers of my assets — same as if I made a backup of a computer program and then distributed it.

“So we already have cross-dimensional shopping.  Currency is still an issue — it would make more sense to keep currency in an on-grid account, rather than with your avatar. For example, if you go to a website that gives you credits, those credits aren’t stored in a cookie, but in a secure database owned by the website.

“That way, when you go from one website to another, the money doesn’t go with you — it stays where it’s safe.

“Or one can use PayPal or Google Checkout, which  can use on OpenSim as well,” she concluded.

Zonja Capalini  videos about hypergrid teleporting are here and here.

All I can say: The whole wide world is waiting out there, baby! Well virtually anyway.

The SLENZ Update – No 50, March 3, 2009

Wonderland ‘wins’

Canuck Open Uni

wonderland11

Athabasca in Wonderland?

The  recently created Immersive Technologies for Education Centre of Excellence (COE) at Athabasca University, a Canadian online university,  has partnered with  Sun Microsystems of Canada to research virtual worlds built on Sun’s open-source Project Wonderland  virtual worlds’ toolkit with the aim of integrating them into curriculum for distance learning and so educators can share work with each other.

“Through the Immersive Technologies for Education Centre of Excellence, our researchers will be able to do things that were impossible before,” Rory McGreal, Associate Vice-president, Research, Athabasca University, said in a statement. “Their research will extend beyond the boundaries of formal education, from corporate uses of the technology to broader community initiatives that will make education accessible to everyone (http://www2.athabascau.ca/aboutau/news/news_item.php?id=437 ).

“We are all lifelong learners, with many of us engaged in assorted learning communities in formal, informal and work settings,” he said. “Software that enhances our abilities to do this will be of benefit to all. Given our synergies in vision and our commitment to education Sun and Athabasca University have created a powerful partnership that will transform the way people learn and collaborate.”

The university would roll out the COE’s three-dimensional immersive technology research into the curriculum so teachers can create dynamic 3D learning environments and share experiences with colleagues while graduate students can acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for real-world applications, he said.

“Sun has a longstanding commitment to bridging the digital divide that prevents people from getting an education because they don’t have access to the right technology,” Kevin Roebuck, Market Development Manager, e-Learning, Sun Microsystems, Inc. “Immersive education combines 3D and virtual reality technology with digital media to immerse and engage students in the same way that today’s best video games grab and keep the attention of players. The new Immersive Technologies for Education Centre of Excellence (COE) at Athabasca University will not only improve existing educational environments but will also widen access to education for the disadvantaged, particularly those living in remote and rural communities and the disabled.”

Athabasca University is the first Canadian university to establish a COE based on immersive technologies. Research produced at the COE  will be designed to  lay the foundation for the creation of rich immersive educational environments on a broader scale, enabling students no matter where they are to work and play together, for outlying isolated communities to engage with others within and outside Canada, and for the development of richer ties between any arbitrary set of communities around the world.darkstarlogo

The immersive environments will be built on Project Wonderland (https://lg3d-wonderland.dev.java.net/ ),  and on Sun’s Project Darkstar platform (https://games-darkstar.dev.java.net/). Within those worlds, users can communicate with high-fidelity, immersive audio, and can share live applications such as web browsers, open office documents, social applications and games. Sun will support and coordinate collaboration with its researchers in areas of high performance and grid technologies, security and software/environment design.

Sun will also provide Athabasca University with access to the Sun Immersion Special Interest Group, a Sun-sponsored community dedicated to advancing the state of open-source technology and open content for virtual worlds, games, and new media in education.

Another new kid …

dekoze

JustLeapIn … another new kid on the virtual reality block

For those of you  who think that Second Life  is download heavy there’s a new kid on the block : an evolving 3D social applet with web integration  and a lightweight plug-in for Windows and Mac.

Canadian-based Leap In Entertainment (http://www.justleapin.com/ ) thinks it can do what Google couldn’t, and has launched (Mid-January) a brand new virtual world that might actually stand a chance, according to Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/12/just-leap-in-tries-to-succeed-where-lively-failed/)

Noting that given the relatively dismal performance of Lively, Google’s short lived browser-based virtual world, smaller startups might be a little hesitant to jump into the space, but Kincaid  found the JLI beta  browser-based virtual world ” impressive, sporting 3D graphics and a semi-realistic physics engine (they may not be quite as good as modern 3D games, but for a browser-based world they more than suffice).”jli

The game, he noted, has strong support for multimedia, allowing users to drag and drop their own pictures; to create in-game art galleries; play live video from in-game screens;  stream their own music, and syndicate their in-game activities to news feeds around the web.

According to the company’s creative director, Michael Griffin, JLI is targeting the 18-34 audience – a group Griffin says has more early adopters, than the younger, virtual-world saturated demographic Google targeted.

Personally while I found the graphics good to excellent  I found the avatar choice/modelling,  and  walk around ability because of separate individual worlds, rather limiting, when compared to the one world of SL or OpenLife etc.  I often wanted to travel in-world but couldn’t. I could only look at the view through the windows. However, this is still  a beta which will be worth watching.